European shares edge up; bank stress results awaited

* FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) rises 0.3 pct

* Most earnings well received

* Ericsson slides after profit misses forecast

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click on [STXNEWS/EU]

By Brian Gorman

LONDON, July 23 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares edged up in
morning trade on Friday, extending a rally into a fourth day, as
companies’ earnings were generally well received and on cautious
optimism most banks would pass stress tests.
At 0856 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top
European shares was up 0.3 percent at 1,042.31 points, after
rising 3.2 percent in the previous two sessions. The index is
down more than 6 percent from a mid-April peak on worries about
debt levels in Europe and the strength of economic recovery.

“Corporate earnings have been good, or not as bad as
expected, and that’s helping the market up,” said Andy Lynch,
fund manager at Schroders. “Most banks will pass the stress
test, but that’s no great surprise.”

Miners were among the gainers, as the price of copper and
other metals rose. Copper on the London Metal Exchange rose
above $7,000 a tonne on Thursday for the first time since late
May and is on course for its strongest week since mid-February,
though traders said copper’s fortunes will be tied to European
bank stress tests.

Anglo American (AAL.L: ), Kazakhmys (KAZ.L: ) and Xstrata
(XTA.L: ) rose between 1.5 and 2.3 percent.

In an effort to calm investors’ worries over the potential
impact of the euro zone debt crisis on Europe’s banking system,
regulators are assessing how 91 banks across Europe would cope
with another economic downturn, and the results are expected to
be published on Friday, after the markets close.

The banking sector was mixed. Some analysts played down the
importance of the stress tests.

“Whatever the results of the stress tests, good, bad or
indifferent, they will not satisfy markets.” said Howard
Wheeldon, strategist at BGC Partners, in London.

Across Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was flat, while
Germany’s DAX (.GDAXI: ) and France’s CAC40 (.FCHI: ) were up 0.6
and 0.5 percent respectively.

AKZONOBEL RISES

Among individual companies reporting, AkzoNobel (AKZO.AS: ),
the world’s largest paint maker, rose 3.5 percent after hitting
its 2011 margin target early and reporting better-than-expected
quarterly results.

Vodafone (VOD.L: ), the world’s largest mobile operator by
revenue, rose 1.9 percent after it returned to growth in the
first quarter with a 1.1 percent rise in organic service revenue
helped by improvements in Germany, Britain and Turkey.

But Ericsson, the world’s number one mobile network gear
maker, fell 4.5 percent after posting second-quarter core profit
below expectations as operators stayed cautious about investing
and parts shortages hit sales.

Chip designer ARM (ARM.L: ), up 4.1 percent, was among
technology companies to gain, after forecast-beating results
from Microsoft (MSFT.O: ), after the closing bell on Wall Street
on Thursday.

Earnings from economic bellwethers 3M (MMM.N: ), UPS (UPS.N: )
and Caterpillar (CAT.N: ) catapulted U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) on Thursday as
investors shed some of their fears about the strength of the
recovery. Major indexes posted their largest daily gains in more
than two weeks.

In macroeconomics, Britain’s gross domestic product jumped
1.1 percent in the second quarter, almost twice as fast as
expected, buoyed by a sharp pick-up in services output and the
fastest rise in construction output in almost 50 years, official
data showed on Friday.

Stock Market Report

(Editing by Mike Nesbit)
([email protected]; +44 20 7542 9128; Reuters
Messaging: [email protected]))

European shares edge up; bank stress results awaited